Monday, July 25, 2016

Sexism in entertainment

I've been working for three and a half years getting into professional acting.  This is a sample casting notice:

I've gotten the strong impression that the entertainment industry is overwhelmingly male.  When I'm on set, virtually everyone who you can't see is male: behind the cameras, behind the lights, behind the mics.  The actors spend a lot of the time waiting, while the equipment is set up.  Actors are like the football in the football game.  If there are women on set, they are mostly being filmed.  Then I see casting notices like this and  notice that most of the acting roles are for men as well.

I just went to see ghostbusters.  This movie has been applauded for putting women in traditional male roles.  That part *was* very nice, but if you look carefully at the screen, it still looks like most of the background performers are still male -- and likely the people operating the equipment are still male.

We heard the story of Jennifer Laurence, whose face is the symbol of the popular "Hunger Games" series, who discovered that she was being paid half what her male colleagues were being paid, despite

A casting director told me that whenever they put up a notice on a casting website they get a couple of thousand applicants.  Of those, they can generally only consider the first three hundred, usually submitted within an hour of the posting.  Then they audition those people and give some callbacks and audition again.

They think very carefully about who they are casting and what impression that person is creating.

It's really hard to get regular jobs on TV shows -- really hard.  You have to have a long resume even to be considered.

If you get one of those jobs, it's like winning the lottery.  It's so rare. If you lose that job, you're back in the pool -- the great unwashed masses, being paid minimum wage for roles, minimum wage in big cities where that is not enough to live on.  Actually, it's like the "Hunger Games."

Actually, it's rare to be paid in acting.  Most actors act for free, some in community theaters as a hobby, but many in the hopes of convincing others that they are worthy of paid roles.

Against this backdrop, I hear the recent stories about women at Fox News getting sexually abused on the job.  These women who, like Jennifer Laurence in the "Hunger Games," have been pulled out of the great, starving masses to prove that really women can be on a news program.  Granted they have to be young, fit, wear lots of makeup, and have their hair dyed blond, while men can be middle aged, balding, greying, chubby -- but they have those women there.

And, then, it turns out they have to prostitute themselves to have those jobs.  It's Dickensonian.

Womens' rights have really made very little progress.

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